New Delhi: In his first economic survey, Chief Economic Adviser KV Subramanian has encouraged the continued dominance of small and marginal farmers in the agricultural sector to reduce poverty in the country.
The Economic Survey 2018-19 also discussed the crucial role played by women farmers, saying 27.9 per cent of total operational land holdings cultivated by women are marginal and small ones.
Talking about the pattern of agricultural holdings, which reflects the predominance (85 per cent) of small and marginal farmers, “The development strategy for agriculture should prioritise smallholder agriculture in order to promote sustainable livelihoods, and for reduction of poverty in India.”
The productivity of a farm depends on the use of inputs like fertiliser, access to irrigation, technology, crop intensity and choice of crops (crop pattern). One of the key aspects which can increase productivity of small farm holdings is improving resource use efficiency. This is also one of the sources of income growth identified by the committee on doubling farmers’ income.
Talking about the pattern of agricultural land holdings, the survey has mentioned that as per phase 1 results of the agriculture census 2015-16, the number of operational holdings i.e. land put to agricultural use, has increased to 14.6 crore in 2015-16 from 13.8 crore in 2010-11, thereby registering an increase of 5.3 per cent.
The share of marginal holdings (less than 1 hectare) in total operational holdings increased from 62.9 per cent in 2000-01 to 68.5 per cent in 2015-16, while the share of small holdings (1 ha to 2 ha) decreased from 18.9 per cent to 17.7 per cent during this period. Large holdings (above 4 ha) decreased from 6.5 per cent to 4.3 percent.
The area operated by the marginal and small farmers increased from 38.9 per cent in 2000-01 to 47.4 per cent in 2015-16, while large holdings decreased from 37.2 per cent to 20 per cent during this period.
Women have played a crucial role in agriculture, including in crop production, livestock sector, horticulture, post-harvest operations, agro/social forestry, fisheries etc. It has observed that the share of operational holdings cultivated by women has increased from 11.7 per cent in 2005-06 to 13.9 per cent in 2015-16.
The marginal and small holdings operated by women farmers together constitute 27.9 per cent of total operational holdings cultivated by women.